Web Xtra: Deconstructing the Dish

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Baked Oysters with Seasoned Crab

Courtesy of John Hutchinson

Chef/owner, J&J Seafood Bar and Grill

It looks like Casanova really did know his science, after all.

The famed 18th-century Italian lover was said to consume 50 oysters for breakfast every morning, the better to have sufficient lead in his ever-ready pencil. And he actually was on to something. A team of American and Italian researchers has reportedly found that oysters are brimming with rare amino acids that stimulate the production of sex hormones. So the plump little mollusks really are aphrodisiacs.

It only makes sense, then, that with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we tip our caps to that famous old cad and deconstruct a dish based on his very own breakfast of champions.

This one comes courtesy of John Hutchinson, chef-owner of J&J Seafood Bar and Grill in Delray Beach (634 E. Atlantic Ave., 561/272-3390), who stirs a different set of senses with his rendition of baked oysters—served, in this case, with seasoned crab and lemon butter sauce.

—Bill Citara

BAKED OYSTERS WITH SEASONED CRAB AND LEMON BUTTER SAUCE

For seasoned crab:

1 pound lump crabmeat

1 small red pepper, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup panko

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

For lemon butter sauce:

1 cup dry white wine

1 shallot, diced

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound butter, very cold and cut into cubes

Pinch of salt and pepper

Juice of one lemon

Blue Point oysters

Mix crabmeat and other 6 ingredients and reserve. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, reduce white wine with shallots to 2 tablespoons. Add heavy cream and reduce by half. Add butter, 1 cube at a time, whisking to incorporate. Finish with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Top each oyster with 2 tablespoons of seasoned crab mixture, then place under broiler until the surface is “GBD” (Golden Brown and Delicious) and oysters are just warmed through, about three to five minutes. Top each oyster with a spoonful of sauce, garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges and serve.

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